The Gorst Creek Watershed Plan will provide a blueprint for future development in the Gorst Creek Watershed while protecting existing wild lands and ensuring sustainable development.
Planning Effort for Gorst - 2013
The City of Bremerton and Kitsap County, in partnership with other state, federal, and tribal agencies, have developed a 20-year plan for the future of Gorst. The purpose of this cooperative planning effort has been to develop a land use plan that is based on the ecological values and functions of the Gorst Creek Watershed.
The Gorst area is still in Kitsap County jurisdiction, with the intent of the City of Bremerton annexing in the future (this will be a separate process with public notification and input). Kitsap County and the City of Bremerton collaborated together to create one document, the Gorst Subarea Plan, As both the City and County adopted this plan, regardless of the jurisdiction, a property owner would comply with the Gorst Subarea Plan.
Click here to see the City and County Adopted Gorst Subarea Plan.
Including to the Subarea Plan, the planning effort included three volumes: (1) Watershed Study, (2) Environmental Impact Statement, and (3) the Subarea Plan:
- Volume 1. Gorst Creek Watershed Characterization & Framework Plan: This plan provides a common set of goals, policies, and best management practices guiding water quality, habitat, and land use plans and activities across the 6,570-acre watershed including the 335-acre Gorst UGA. (13.18 MB)
- Volume 2. Gorst Planned Action Environmental Impact Statement (EIS): The EIS is an informational document that evaluates land use alternatives and potential mitigation measures to minimize environmental impacts. It addresses both the watershed and Gorst UGA. The EIS allows the City and County to consider designating a planned action for some or all of the Gorst UGA, which would streamline environmental review for development proposals consistent with mitigation measures. (21.41 MB)
- Volume 3. Gorst Subarea Plan: The purpose of this plan is to provide greater detail, guidance and predictability to future development within the 335-acre Gorst UGA, while also protecting the environment. Kitsap County currently governs the unincorporated Gorst UGA but has assigned it as a future annexation area to the City of Bremerton. (11.16 MB)
Gorst Creek Watershed Plan
City of Bremerton (Lead and Grant Recipient)
The project is development of a land use plan based on ecological values and functions of the Gorst Creek Watershed. The project will develop the regulatory framework to protect existing wild lands and ensure sustainable growth. Funded through the USEPA’s Watershed Management Assistance Program Grant and from the participation of Gorst property owners, regional stakeholders and government agencies, the plan will identify priority areas for development, areas that should be protected, and regulations to guide future development.
A major goal of the project is to assist and leverage development by creating a streamlined permitting process to reduce permitting cost and time for developers and local governments.
The planning effort will be delivered through six major tasks:
- Watershed Characterization – development of habitat quality and other models & mapping to document the existing conditions within the watershed. Task deliverables are available for review at here.
- Land Use Plan – development of a Land Use Plan, including implementing regulations to be adopted by the City and County which will guide development within the watershed. Task deliverables are available for review at here.
- Planned Action Environmental Impact Statement (PAEIS) – development of a PAEIS which will assess and approve development within the Gorst Urban Growth Area to provide a streamlined permit approval process to help leverage future development. Task deliverables are available for review at here. The EIS will also programmatically address the watershed.
- Stormwater Plan – the stormwater plan will identify current deficiencies and corrective actions needed in the watershed. Task deliverables are available for review at here.
- Capital Improvement and Corrective Action Plan - will identify and prioritize projects needed to address existing infrastructure deficiencies and promote sustainable development. Major emphasis in this task will occur on developing a plan for correction of the failing landfill along Highway 3. Task deliverables are available for review at here.
- Outreach and Information Transfer – a detailed program will be implemented throughout the project to engage the public on the project as it proceeds. Task deliverables are available for review at here.
The Gorst Creek Watershed and Gorst UGA together comprise the planning boundaries, and encompass over 6,570 acres in the southwestern portion of Kitsap County. Several jurisdictional boundaries cross into the watershed: about 3,707 acres encompass Bremerton City Limits, most of which is zoned as utility lands, about 335 acres are in the Gorst UGA, nearly 180 acres are in the McCormick Woods area of the City of Port Orchard, and there is another 42 acres of unincorporated UGA assigned to Port Orchard. The balance of about 2,205 acres are rural, unincorporated land. A map of the watershed is available here.
The project began in 2011 and the Gorst Subarea Plan was completed in December 2013. The project schedule is available here.
Collaboration of Diverse Interests and Expertise
In addition to the City of Bremerton and Kitsap County, an extensive group of agencies, organizations and individuals are partnering to develop the plan, and working together as project partners to steer the project, including:
- United States Environmental Protection Agency
- Suquamish Tribe
- Washington State Department of Ecology
- Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife
- Kitsap County Health District
- City of Port Orchard
- Port of Bremerton
- West Sound Watershed Council
- Sustainable Bremerton
- Gorst property owners, Pat and Cheryl Lockhart
EPA Watershed Management Assistance Grant
The project is being funded by a $660,000 grant from the EPA Watershed Management Assistance Program Grant program. Contributions from partners are matching the grant and total $220,000. The grant program assists local and tribal governments with integration of watershed protection and land use decisions as they implement the Puget Sound Partnership’s Action Agenda. Grant funds must be used to support protection and restoration of high value, aquatic resources, and enhance local programs in areas threatened by growth. Measurable outcomes expected by EPA include land protection, water quality protection and restoration, and riparian/aquatic habitat protection and restoration.
Model for Other Watersheds
The technical methodology, process and final products will be documented, presented and transferred to other watersheds within the Kitsap County region and throughout the Northwest, with specific attention to those involved in restoring and protecting Puget Sound. The communication strategy is available for review at here.
An Advisory Committee composed of representatives from Bremerton Planning Commission, Bremerton City Council, Bremerton Mayor, Kitsap County Planning Commission, Kitsap County Board of County Commissioners, and Suquamish Tribal Council will represent the interests of their respective bodies and convene at key project milestones to address issues and concerns for Gorst Creek Watershed Plan. These meetings are shown on the project schedule here.
Both the City of Bremerton and Kitsap County approved and adopted the Final Gorst Creek Watershed Comprehensive Plan and Planned Action EIS through their own legislative processes. The Planned Action Ordinance is anticipated to be adopted in the first quarter of 2014. A timeline for adoption is included in the project schedule at here.